Sir Charles Wheatstone and his family

1 portrait

Sir Charles Wheatstone and his family, by Antoine Claudet, circa 1851-1852 - NPG P154 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

Sir Charles Wheatstone and his family

by Antoine Claudet
stereoscopic daguerreotype, arched top, circa 1851-1852
2 7/8 in. x 2 1/4 in. (73 mm x 57 mm)
Given by Governing Body of King's College, London, 1980
Primary Collection
NPG P154


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Charles Wheatstone began his career as a musical instrument maker, and from the start revealed his powers as an inventor when he patented the concertina (1829). He was the first to make possible the sending of messages by electiric telegraph, a pioneer of submarine telegraphy, and instrumental in the creation of the modern dynamo. He has a special place in the history of photography, for in 1832 he invented the stereoscope, by which an impression of solidity in an image is obtained through the combination of two pictures in slightly dissimilar perspective. This stereoscopic daguerreotype shows Wheatstone with his family grouped around a table on which is the wave model (c.1840) with which he demonstrated the wave properties of light.

Linked publicationsback to top

  • Piper, David, The English Face, 1992, p. 202
  • Rogers, Malcolm, Camera Portraits, 1989 (accompanying the exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery from 20 October 1989 - 21 January 1990), p. 25
  • Saywell, David; Simon, Jacob, Complete Illustrated Catalogue, 2004, p. 735